COVID-19 Daily News Digest – October 8th, 2020
Two Manitoba First Nations confirm COVID-19 cases
According to a public notice issued on Oct.6 from Poplar River First Nation’s chief, council and emergency measures organization team, said four infected individuals are in isolation. The nurse-in-charge is monitoring all cases, as well as any contacts.
Anxiety grows in First Nations communities amid pandemic’s second wave
In a recent interview, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said concern about the second wave in First Nations is “immense.” He said Indigenous communities did exceedingly well under the first wave, but “we can’t take that for granted.”
Shannon McDonald, acting chief medical officer of B.C’s First Nations Health Authority, the only Indigenous province-wide health authority in Canada, said First Nations in British Columbia had few cases during the first wave, but the numbers have gone up precipitously, mostly within the past month.
Indigenous Services Canada promises additional $305M to the Indigenous Community Support Fund
“It’ll be distributed through a combination of allocations directly to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leadership in needs-based funding that will be application driven. This approach aligns with our commitment to support Indigenous leadership approaches to community wellness while providing the flexibility to respond to emerging needs, for example response to an outbreak of COVID-19. This is something we have heard directly from Indigenous communities. This funding will also be available to organizations living off reserve and Inuit and Métis living in urban centers on application basis and further details related to this will be forthcoming.”
COVID-19 Impact | A look at how Brazil provided medical care to Amazon’s “guardians of the forest”
Guajajara, a tribe that lives on several reservations in the rainforest of Maranhao state, praised the Brazilian armed forces for air lifting doctors and nurses to do rapid COVID-19 tests and examine for other diseases, but criticized the government’s indigenous health service SESAI for not protecting them against the novel coronavirus.
Media Advisory – Minister and Indigenous Services Canada officials to hold a news conference on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Please be advised that the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, Valerie Gideon, Associate Deputy Minister, and Dr. Tom Wong, Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, will hold a news conference to provide an update on coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Date: October 8, 2020 Time: 1:00 PM (EDT)
Indigenous data sovereignty shakes up research
The coronavirus pandemic has given the Indigenous data sovereignty movement a new sense of urgency. As pharmaceutical companies, researchers and governments scramble to create COVID-19 tests and vaccines, many tribal leaders and Indigenous data and public health experts are wary of participating in research that may have little benefit for their communities.
“We’re concerned about access to data as well as release of data without tribal permission,” said Dr. Stephanie Russo (Ahtna-Native Village of Kluti-Kaah), University of Arizona public health professor. “What the pandemic has shed a light on is the need for tribes to have access to external data.”
Lack of ID can endanger already vulnerable people during COVID-19 pandemic
Rod Maxwell, a young Indigenous man from northern British Columbia, was forced to live on the streets of downtown Vancouver last March after his personal identification was stolen. Maxwell had travelled to the city to access health-care services unavailable in his rural community. After his identification was stolen, he was left with no alternative but to live on the streets of downtown.
Indigenous Victorians being unfairly targeted in COVID-19 policing
“There is no place for racial discrimination, especially during a pandemic. The ongoing over-policing of our people during the pandemic is further manifestation of systemic racism, and it needs to stop now,” said Co-Chair of NATSILS and CEO of VALS, Nerita Waight.
“Governments should be actively diverting and reducing the number of Aboriginal people entering the justice system and ensure everyone has social and economic support to get through this pandemic.”
Today’s letters: Federal promises and Indigenous communities
But the recent death of Joyce Echaquan, an Indigenous woman who videotaped her own abuse by hospital workers in Quebec, prompts the question: What if you are a woman who cannot trust the state to care for you or your family? What if your understanding of government “support” includes unjust child removal, medical negligence, “starlight tours” — the constant twin threats of racism and sexism in innumerable forms?
Indigenous women (who, incidentally, engage in entrepreneurship at roughly twice the rate of other Canadian women) live with the burden of systemic oppression every day. If this truly is a feminist government committed to “building back better,” the COVID-19 recovery plan for women must be radically intersectional.